Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) and Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) research ‘s Dr Karen Shaw Becker has written an interesting paper on research undertaken by the University of California-Davis. An extract of Dr Becker’s paper is below.


21 February 2018

Story at-a-glance

  • Researchers have identified a genetic mutation in several dog breeds that results in chondrodystrophy (CDDY)
  • CDDY results in abnormally short legs in certain breeds, and can also cause premature degeneration of intervertebral discs, resulting in Hansen Type I intervertebral disc disease (IVDD)
  • Currently, there are 21 dog breeds in which the CDDY gene mutation has been identified
  • A primary symptom of IVDD is reluctance to move the neck and head, a lowered head and/or moving only the eyes to look at objects; there are many other symptoms as well
  • Treatment of IVDD can involve medical management and/or surgical intervention; regular physical therapy is a critical component in treating the disease and reducing the risk of recurrence

By Dr. Karen Shaw Becker

Recently, researchers at the University of California-Davis identified a genetic mutation across dog breeds that results in a condition called chondrodystrophy. Chondrodystrophy (CDDY) is characterized by reduction of long bone length (shorter legs) as a result of early changes in the structure of growth plates. CDDY can also trigger an abnormal process that causes premature degeneration of intervertebral discs. According to the UC-Davis researchers:

“Two retrogene insertions of functional fibroblast growth factor 4 (FGF4) explain short-legged phenotypes of dogs. FGF4 gene is involved in many biological processes including bone development.”

The research team published their findings in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Dogs with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) are 50 times more likely to have this mutation; that’s an incredibly strong correlation with disc disease,” said Dr. Danika Bannasch, a UC-Davis veterinary geneticist and the paper’s lead author. “Being able to identify the cause of this painful condition is the first step to alleviating pain and suffering for dogs at greatest risk.”


Dr Becker’s paper discusses the use of massage, physical rehabilitation, swim therapy; and the long-term outcomes for dogs who have had treatment for IVDD. If you own a breed that is prone to IVDD please read Dr Becker’s paper.

You can access the full story at ….


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